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Updates on Masindi – Abby Batdorf

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We left bright and early Monday morning to begin our 5 hour journey to Masindi. The bus ride was such an eye opening experience as it was really our first look at a rural area. The trip started off very memorable at our first bathroom stop (which occurred in the middle of the jungle) as I met the most precious little baby in the world. She was only 2 weeks old! We had the opportunity to pray with her mother and give her some food along with a new blanket for the baby. We carried back the goodies to her hut to realize that her home consisted of just one small mattress.

We finally arrived in Kahara which is the second school started by Charlene’s Project. In order to actually get to the school, we had to travel down a very skinny path with our large buses. I thought I had paid for an African safari ride. The scenery was breath-taking. Whenever I thought about Africa before the trip, this journey and scenery was what I really thought Africa actually looked like. As we pulled up in our bus, we received the warmest welcome ever. They made a sign for us and were waving around flowers while doing their African yelling noises. They also greeted us with joyful singing chants. I have never seen so much joy on anyone’s face, we felt like we were celebrities! There were so many other people from the community that had come to see the ‘mzungos’ but you can tell the students of the Kahara school apart as they wore their yellow and green uniforms.

First off we had a tour of the classrooms and I was most impressed at the content material in which they were learning. Despite it being a rural school, they are expected to know a lot of information about all subjects. They were so eager to show off their raggedy notebooks and share what they were learning. It was time for us to leave for the day but we were able to give the children hope that we would be coming back tomorrow to teach them.

Day two at Kahara school started off with an African congo dance line. Something that really amazed me was how much joy those kids have despite the material things they don’t have. Most of those children never have or will see a flushing toilet. It is simply a hole in the cement floor. After we were able to calm down from singing joyfully for no reason at all other than being grateful for what we have, we started the kids club. Our Irish friends led a drama about the Bible story of the little boy who gave his lunch of 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish to Jesus to use it and multiply it. With the use of a translator we were able to express to the children how important it is to give Jesus all that we have despite how useless we may feel. Next, we split up into groups and we all were in charge of a class to do an activity that related to the story. When I walked in the room they all stood up and recited something about welcoming you into the room. I cannot get over how well-behaved the students were despite having no teacher. We got to sing some songs, and although it was difficult, we found some common understanding with the game of “Simon Says”. The students were released for lunch which consisted of rice and beans. I was helping to hand out the sodas and was actually tackled. I have never had so many little hands in my face. It was really touching when a little boy saved his drink and I asked him if he was saving it for later and I soon found out his was bringing it home for his younger siblings. It was sad to leave them but I knew we would return again for one more day of memories.

On our last day at Kahara, we started off by visiting people that live in the nearby community. My group visited a couple who had five children living in probably an 8 x 8 feet mud hut. Her name was Rachelle and as soon as we arrived she rushed to put down probably her best blankets for us to sit on outside their home. It was such a blessing to see their welcoming spirit. The man of the house was very refreshing to hear as he spoke a sermon in Swahili on how we must not ignore that the devil is real and we must do everything to turn from him. One of the very touching moments was when someone reminded them that we are all the same. We are all brothers and sisters in Christ, no matter where we are in the world and that we will all be reunited someday in Heaven. We presented them with such small gifts of sweets, teddies and blankets but they felt like they needed to show their appreciation as well. They quickly rushed to knock some avocados down from their tree and fill a big bag for us with passion fruit as well. It was hard to take their food away from them, but I know that they were so grateful for what we had done for them. We got back to the school and had to say our goodbyes to all the beautiful children. It was very difficult but each and every one of those children have marked a special place in my heart. I am so excited to see how God will work through our team for the remainder of the trip!

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